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28 May 2024  

NUI Convocation Celebrates Centenary


As 2008 unfolds, the Council of NUI Convocation has highlighted this milestone year for NUI by designating its Annual Lecture a “celebration of the National University of Ireland’s Centenary Year 2008”.

The lecture, entitled ‘The Role of Education in the New Ireland’, was delivered by Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, in Callan Hall, NUI, Maynooth on Thursday 10th March 2008.

The thrust of Dr Martin’s address was the inherent complexity of the education system in present-day Ireland. He touched on the history of education in Ireland – “the challenge is to understand and appreciate history but not to get caught up in history, or … to allow history to determine the present”. He spoke of Ireland’s “unprecedented growth and wealth” in these times in contrast to the poor conditions that prevail in many schools throughout the country, and the lack of foresight in educational planning.

He focused on the diversity, both cultural and religious, in Irish society today and the need for true multi-cultural pluralism to inform policy and outlook in education, at all levels.

Dr Martin reflected on the “challenge of discernment and verification of values” for young people in reconciling traditional and new values, and the difficulty for parents and teachers in guiding young people at this critical stage.
In his address Dr Martin focused on the role of education at all levels, but, befitting the occasion of the Annual NUI Convocation Lecture, he had a special message for universities: “Universities in particular will change in the New Ireland. New dimensions of knowledge will emerge. Faith and the Christian tradition – along with the tradition of other beliefs – have much to bring to the debates around these new issues. The university is the place where this debate can find a privileged space.”

Download: Full Text of Lecture